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Pre-plant Planning

Planter Checklist

This planter checklist will get you on track to reaching your sunflower yield and profit goals.


  • Consult your planter manual for proper inflation and tire size. Unwanted population variation occurs with overinflation or underinflation of the meter drive system tires.- Check closing wheel alignment.
  • Check disk openers for wear. For John Deere, Kinze, and White 8000 and older planters, the diameter of a new disk is 15”. A disk worn smaller than 14.5” may create a W in the trench and cause a difference of up to 3/4” in seed depth. White 9000 planters are 16” openers and Case IH planters are 14” openers when new.
  • Make sure drives are all in good working order (chains, bearings and shafts).
  • Make sure all chains and sprockets are properly aligned to prevent binding.
  • Make sure all seed tubes and sensors are clean and functional.
  • Row cleaners are vital. They should float freely with maintained pivot point and bearings. Residue left in-furrow can change soil temperature and cause delayed emergence.



  • Check opener disks for wear—most manufacturers’ disks are 18”; if they are 17” or less, replace them.
  • Examine firming and closing wheel arms; check bushings.
  • Check the condition of the air delivery system, making sure the air system fan is operating at the proper speed.
  • Check all hoses and distributors for wear, air leakage, cracks or blockage.
  • Make sure seed boots are within spec (if more than 1/2” is burned off the bottom of the boot, it should be replaced. To check, use your tape measure and if the boot is less than 11.3”, look into replacing the boot.
  • Calibrate downforce to ensure the boot is running parallel with the ground (too much downforce will cause the seed boot to run deeper in the trench, and it will not run parallel to the ground).
  • Make sure all bearings are in good condition.
  • Check that you have the proper metering roll for the proper application. Also, check the metering roll for wear, and clean from any foreign material.
  • Check meter calibrations prior to entering the field, and check your calibrations and seed usage after planting a few acres.